What you see. The starting point for addressing any equine health related issue is your observation.


Lump, Bump, Growth on Face or Head


Skin lumps and bumps are common around the head and face and can be tumors, cysts, abscesses, granulomas, foreign bodies, bruises, hematomas, seromas and a variety of other conditions. When lumps or bumps occur on the head and face, problems and injuries involving the sinuses and teeth must always be considered.

  • Code Orange

    Call Your Vet at Their First Available Office Hours
    • If the mass is large, painful or seems to be growing rapidly.
  • Code Yellow

    Contact Your Vet at Your Convenience for an Appointment
    • If the mass is small, non-painful or seems to be only growing slowly.
You also might be observing
Less Common
more observations

your role


What To Do

Consider the size, shape and feel of the mass. Compare these things to the opposite side of the face or head as a reference. You can give a small bump a little time to see if it resolves on its own, but you should call your vet with any questions or concerns. A photograph can be very helpful to your vet in determining the nature and severity of a lump or bump. Look elsewhere on the body for similar lumps and document those if they exist.

your vet's role

Your vet assess lumps here as they do elsewhere, trying to identify a specific anatomic structure that is associated with the bump (is it associated with skull or skin or mucous membrane?) and trying to determine the type of tissue that forms the bump. They do this through examination of the bump and comparison to similar bumps they have seen in practice.

However, in order to make a definitive diagnosis, tissue must be taken in the form of a biopsy, or the whole mass can be removed surgically and a sample of it submitted to the laboratory for identification.
Questions Your Vet Might Ask:
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?
  • Is it changing in size or appearance over time?
  • What is the size, shape and feel of the mass?
  • When did you first notice this problem?
  • Does your horse seem normal otherwise?
  • Do you notice other masses or swellings?
  • How old is the horse?
  • Where, exactly, is it located? Can you provide a photo?
  • Does the horse show pain when pressure is put on the area?
  • Do you notice the horse showing any other signs of a problem?
  • What are the results of the Whole Horse Exam (WHE)?

Diagnoses Your Vet May Consider

The cause of the problem. These are conditions or ailments that are the cause of the observations you make.

Very Common
Less Common
more diagnoses

Treatments Your Vet May Recommend

A way to resolve the condition or diagnosis. Resolving the underlying cause or treating the signs of disease (symptomatic treatment)

Very Common
more treatments

Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP